How the rule of law dies in Poland

Support the ECJ to protect the rule of law in Poland

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has forced Poland to undo some steps in the demolition of judicial independence. But Poland's judiciary is still under siege. No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control. EU member states and all parliamentary groups should support the European Commission and the Court in their ongoing battle to protect the rule of law in Poland.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has forced Poland to undo some steps in the demolition of judicial independence. But Poland's judiciary is still under siege. No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive…

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70 years Refugee Convention - what now?

Establish humane control through cooperation

The non-refoulement principle – that no one must be sent back into danger – is the core of the Geneva Refugee Convention. Today, this principle is on the defensive worldwide. Pushbacks have been a popular policy in Australia, Israel, and the US under Donald Trump. Once democratic majorities conclude that the only choice is between control and the Refugee Convention, the latter will lose out. But there is a third way: humane control through cooperation.

The non-refoulement principle – that no one must be sent back into danger – is the core of the Geneva Refugee Convention. Today, this principle is on the defensive worldwide. Pushbacks have been a popular policy in Australia, Israel, and the US…

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Humane Borders

Saving the Refugee Convention

A humane global refugee system is one where more, not fewer, countries offer refugee protection. At this moment such a world seems more elusive than ever. So what is to be done?

A humane global refugee system is one where more, not fewer, countries offer refugee protection. At this moment such a world seems more elusive than ever. So what is to be done?

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Caviar Diplomacy

Why every European should care

Azerbaijan’s “Caviar Diplomacy” of systematic bribing to downplay Azerbaijan’s human rights record has led to investigations and convictions in several EU member states. So far, however, the main culprit has escaped unscathed. It is time that the Committee of Ministers investigate Azerbaijan’s role in the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the Council of Europe.

Azerbaijan’s “Caviar Diplomacy” of systematic bribing to downplay Azerbaijan’s human rights record has led to investigations and convictions in several EU member states. So far, however, the main culprit has escaped unscathed. It is time that the…

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The Council of Europe and Navalny

Countries blatantly violating its rules should be suspended

Nobody has turned to the European Court of Human Rights as often as Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny – 20 times. It made no difference. Navalny was arrested again in January 2021 in a case that the Strasbourg court had already dismissed as arbitrary in 2017. Strasbourg ordered Navalny’s immediate release, but Russia openly refused to implement the binding ruling. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers should make clear: either Russia releases Navalny or will face suspension.

Nobody has turned to the European Court of Human Rights as often as Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny – 20 times. It made no difference. Navalny was arrested again in January 2021 in a case that the Strasbourg court had already…

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Anti-Corruption Report for the West Balkans

Measure corruption in order to fight it

Corruption is often mentioned as one of the biggest problems in the Balkans. Yet, hard data on its pervasiveness and nature are scarce. In order to successfully address it, we need deeper analysis and less prejudice. The European Commission has developed a sound methodology to assess corruption, which led in 2014 to the first EU Anti-Corruption Report. It should use this methodology to produce Western Balkans Anti-Corruption reports every two years.

Corruption is often mentioned as one of the biggest problems in the Balkans. Yet, hard data on its pervasiveness and nature are scarce. In order to successfully address it, we need deeper analysis and less prejudice. The European Commission has…

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New deal with Africa

Regular access and fast return

A humane and effective policy is urgently needed to reduce irregular migration from Africa across the Mediterranean. A coalition of EU member states should establish joint asylum centres at the EU’s external borders. After fair and quick procedures, those not in need of protection should be returned to their home countries. Those in need of protection should be taken in by the members of this coalition. African countries of origin need to be offered tangible benefits to turn them into partners.

A humane and effective policy is urgently needed to reduce irregular migration from Africa across the Mediterranean. A coalition of EU member states should establish joint asylum centres at the EU’s external borders. After fair and quick…

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Silly rankings don't help

The World Bank should change the methodology of its Doing Business ranking

In August 2020 the World Bank announced a “pause” in the publication of its annual Doing Business rankings because of cases of data manipulation. The currently ongoing “comprehensive review” ordered by the chief economist should be used to address substantial methodological shortcomings identified by ESI that make the ranking easy to trick.

In August 2020 the World Bank announced a “pause” in the publication of its annual Doing Business rankings because of cases of data manipulation. The currently ongoing “comprehensive review” ordered by the chief economist should be used…

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No border changes

Why Kosovo and Serbia must not discuss territory

The two decade old consensus of no border changes in the Balkans keeps being challenged. Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo's former president Hashim Thaci and some leading US and EU officials have supported border changes in recent years. In a region where most states are multi-ethnic this is dangerous. The EU should take a clear stance against.

The two decade old consensus of no border changes in the Balkans keeps being challenged. Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo's former president Hashim Thaci and some leading US and EU officials have supported border changes in recent years…

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EU-Turkey Statement 2.0

How the EU and Turkey must cooperate in their mutual interest

The EU-Turkey statement in March 2016 has drastically brought down numbers of people trying to cross the Aegean and thereby also the numbers of people drowning. Then it broke down in March 2020. What is needed now is a revised statement 2.0 that addresses the shortcomings and builds on the successes of the first statement.

The EU-Turkey statement in March 2016 has drastically brought down numbers of people trying to cross the Aegean and thereby also the numbers of people drowning. Then it broke down in March 2020. What is needed now is a revised statement 2.0 that…

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Why Orban had to leave the EPP

Europe's centre-right is better off without Fidesz

Hungary’s Fidesz left the European People’s Party EPP. This is good news. For years, Viktor Orban’s islamophobia and “illiberal democracy” have made a travesty of Christian democratic values. ESI has written about “Europe’s most dangerous man” since September 2015 and made the case for Fidesz’ expulsion from the EPP. With Fidesz now gone, the EPP should actively try to find a new partner in Hungary.

Hungary’s Fidesz left the European People’s Party EPP. This is good news. For years, Viktor Orban’s islamophobia and “illiberal democracy” have made a travesty of Christian democratic values. ESI has written about “Europe’s most dangerous man”…

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Open EU Single Market to the Balkans

For a merit-based EU accession process that offers a credible goal

The EU accession process should offer membership in the Single Market as an interim goal to any of the six Western Balkan nations interested in it. The best chance to achieve this lies with the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency and an EU-Balkan summit in late 2021.

The EU accession process should offer membership in the Single Market as an interim goal to any of the six Western Balkan nations interested in it. The best chance to achieve this lies with the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency and an EU-Balkan…

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